Athens: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday arrived in Greece for his maiden visit to Greece at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
PM Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister in the last 40 years to visit Greece.
The last Prime Ministerial visit from India to Greece was in 1983.
PM Modi was greeted with a ceremonial reception upon his arrival.
PM Modi arrived in Athens from Johannesburg in South Africa, where he was attending the BRICS summit.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just arrived here from Johannesburg after attending the 15th BRICS summit,” Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi also posted a video on X.
Bagchi said, “A packed day of engagement lie ahead in Athens. He will little later lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Thereafter, he will meet the president of Greece and then hold talks with the Prime Minister of Greece.”
“He will also meet with business leaders from both sides. Before departing, he will have an interaction with the community who are all excited to receive him after the success of the Chandrayan mission,” he said.
Members of the Indian diaspora gathered outside the hotel in Athens where PM Modi will stay during his one-day official visit to Greece. They were seen holding tricolours in their hands and placards praising PM Modi upon his arrival.
In 1983, former PM Indira Gandhi visited the country.
Greece Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had visited New Delhi in 2019.
During his stay in Greece PM Modi will also hold meetings with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
PM Modi will meet his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the leaders will discuss ways to further deepen the ties between the two nations. He will also interact with business leaders from both countries. He will also have an interaction with the Indian community in Greece.
A business lunch hosted by the Greek PM is also scheduled during the visit.
Foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra had in a press briefing earlier said that PM Modi will have restricted and delegation-level talks with the Prime Minister of Greece.
Both leaders would also address the key businesses of both countries later after the delegation-level talks.
Prime Minister Modi had met the Greek Prime Minister in New York last in September 2019 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
India and Greece enjoy civilizational ties, which have strengthened in recent years through cooperation in areas like maritime transport, defence, trade and investments and people-to-people ties.
Greek Ambassador to India Dimitrios Ioannou has said that during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Greece visit, the two countries will upgrade their long friendship.
“We are very happy to welcome him. This will be the first visit of an Indian Prime Minister after 40 years. During this visit, we will upgrade our long friendship…” the Greek Ambassador told ANI.
“We (India and Greece) are advancing our cooperation in all important fields including security, culture, trade, economy and technology. This is an important comprehensive partnership… We would like to be the gateway to Europe for India. Our ports can be a gateway for Indian products to enter the European markets…” he said.
Prime Minister would also interact with the Indian diaspora in Greece.
The Indian diaspora in Greece has expressed happiness and much excitement on PM Modi’s visit.
Previous high-level exchanges between the two countries have also included a visit by former Presidents of India, late APJ Abdul Kalam and former President Ram Nath Kovind in June 2018.
The Greek President had also paid a state visit to India in 1998, and the then Greek Prime Minister had visited India in 2008.
Greece is one of India’s important European partners, is a member of the EU, of NATO, and a gateway to Europe and also to the EU market, and enjoys a privileged position at the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa, Foreign Secretary Kwatra said.
During PM Modi’s visit to Greece, both sides will look to expand and diversify the trade and investment segment of cooperation, deepen and expand the defence and security partnership, infrastructure cooperation, shipbuilding industry, energy, agriculture, education, and migration and mobility, he said.
The visit would give both India and Greece an opportunity to discuss the regional and global issues of mutual interest and help broaden and deepen our bilateral engagement, Kwatra said.
The objective of the Prime Minister’s one-day official visit, would be to strengthen security and defence cooperation, to increase the pace of exchanges at the military level, training personnel, invite Greek capacity into the Make in India program, especially in the defence industry, and consider joint production, technology exchange among others, Sanjay Verma, Secretary (West) in the ministry of external affairs said.